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Bob Duncan 

Executive Director 

In this issue of Virginia 
Wildlife we celebrate the 
contributions of volunteers 
from many different back- 
grounds, whose boundless 
giving benefits a broad as- 
sortment of programs here 
at DGIF. King Mont- 
gomery's feature about the 
Complementary Work 
Force program (p. 16) de- 
scribes a well-oiled machine and speaks 
to the strong level of commitment exhib- 
ited by so many of our volunteer work- 
force. That program is enjoying much 
growth and success as it wraps up four 
years of assistance to our Department. 

Of course our agency has counted 
on the generous gifts of time donated by 
wildlife supporters since its earliest days. 
Historically, Virginians engaged in field 
surveys spanning a wide range of re- 
search topics to capture information 
critical to decisions made by wildlife 
managers. Those individuals tirelessly 
traversed field and thicket, trout stream 
and upland marsh in all sorts of weather 
and field conditions — much of it inhos- 
pitable — to collect invaluable data. 

The force of today's DGIF volunteer 
army barkens back to an earlier time in 
this country, when people got by with the 
help and kindness of their extended fami- 
lies and neighbors. And just as we wit- 
nessed in the late 1920s and '30s, such 

generosity allowed our so- 
ciety to achieve things that 
could otherwise never 
happen. The government 
in collaboration with ordi- 
nary citizens formed the 
Civilian Conservation 
Corps (featured inside), 
and their legacy in Virginia 
serves as a prime example. 
As I gaze across the state 
landscape now, I can't help but be re- 
minded that our volunteers are every- 
where! From the Complementary Work 
Force to assorted "friends of groups to 
hunter education instructors to master 
naturalists, our volunteers stand "at the 
ready." Outreach programs serving our 
youth, our veterans, our disabled, and 
neighbors needing food are the magnifi- 
cent result. Yes, volunteer energy and 
elbow grease make it happen. 

It would be difficult, probably im- 
possible, to quantify the impacts of 
such volunteer efforts. The benefits to 
this agency are tremendous, and like 
the ripple effect on the water's surface, 
our volunteers tend to inspire other 
acts of giving — thus widening the circle 
of beneficiaries. 

To all of our volunteers, please ac- 
cept my heartfelt thanks and know that 
every day I count our blessings, made 
possible because of your values and com- 
mitment to our mission. 

Mission Statement 

To manage Virginia's wildlife and inland fish to maintain optimum populations of all species to serve the needs of the Commonwealth; 
To provide opportunity for all to enjoy wildlife, inland fish, boating and related outdoor recreation and to work diligently to safeguard 
the rights of the people to hunt, fish and harvest game as provided for in the Constitution of Virginia: To promote safety for persons and 
property in connection with boating, hunting and fishing; To provide educational outreach programs and materials that foster an aware- 
ness of and appreciation for Virginia's fish and wildlife resources, their habitats, and hunting, fishing, and boating opportunities. 

Dedicated to the Conservation of Virginia's Wildlife and Natural Resources 

Commonwealth of Virginia 
Bob McDonnell, Governor 



Subsidized this publication 

Secretary of Natural Resources 

Douglas W. Domenech 

Department of Game and 
Inland Fisheries 

Bob Duncan 
Executive Director 

Members of the Board 

Ward Burton, Halifax 
Brent Clarke, Fairfax 
Sherry Smith Crumley, Buchanan 
William T. Greer, Jr., Norfolk 
James W. Hazel, Oakton 
Randy J. Kozuch, Alexandria 
John W. Montgomery, Jr., Sandston 
Mary Louisa Pollard, Irvington 
Richard E. Railey, Courtland 
F. Scott Reed, Jr., Manakin-Sabot 
Charles S. Yates, Cleveland 

Magazine Staff 

Sally Mills, Editor 

Lee Walker, Ron Messina, Julia Dixon, 

Contributing Editors 
Emily Pels, Art Director 
Carol Kushlak, Production Manager 
Tom Guess, Staff Contributor 

Color separations and printing by 
Progress Printing, Lynchburg, VA. 

Virginia Wildlife (ISSN 0042 6792) is published 
monthly by the Virginia Department of Game and 
Inland Fisheries. Send all subscription orders and 
address changes to Virginia Wildlife, P. O. Box 7477, 
Red Oak, Iowa 51591-0477. Address all other com- 
munications concerning this publication to Virgitiia 
Wildlife, P. O. Box n:04, 4010 West Broad Street 
Richmond, Virginia 23230-1104. Subscription rates 
are $12.95 for one year, $23.95 for two years; $4.00 
per each back issue, subject to availability. Out-of- 
country rate is $24.95 for one year and must be paid 
in U.S. funds. No refunds for amounts less than 
$5.00. To subscribe, call toll-free (800) 710-9369. 
POSTMASTER: Please send all address changes to 
Virginia Wildlife, PO. Box 7477, Red Oak, Iowa 
51591-0477. Postage for periodicals paid at 
Richmond, Virginia and additional entry offices. 

Copyright 2010 by the Virginia Department of 
Game and Inland Fisheries. All rights reser\'ed. 

The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries shaU 
afford to all persons an equal access to Department 
programs and facilities without regard to race, 
color, religion, national origin, disability', sex, or 
age. If you believe that you have been discriminat- 
ed against in any program, activity or facilit}', 
please write to: Virginia Department of Game and 
Inland Fisheries, ATTN: Compliance Officer, (4010 
West Broad Street.) P O. Box 11104, Richmond, 
Virginia 23230-1104. 

"This publication is intended for general informa- 
tional purposes only and every effort has been 
made to ensure its accuracy. The information con- 
tained herein does not serve as a legal representa- 
tion of fish and wildlife laws or regulations. The 
Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries 
does not assume responsibility for any change in 
dates, regulations, or information that may occur 
after publication." 




Mixed Sources 


About the cover: 

Virginia bluebells, Mertensia 
rirginica, bloom profusely 
along the South Fork of the 
Shenandoah at Front Royal 
and are a highlight of the Royal 
Shenandoah Greenway. 
Greenways and riparian zones 
offer much needed travel 
corridors for wildlife seeking 
food, water, and an escape route 
from predators. 
Photo ©Marie Majarov 

Where The Mountains 
Meet The River 

by Marie Majarov 
Volunteers focused on healthy trees 
have enhanced habitat in many ways. 

The Lasting Legacy 

by Emily M. Grey 
Virginia fisheries received a public 
assistance boost that keeps on giving. 

Give the Gift of Fishing 

by Lynda Richardson & 

Capt. Mike Ostrander 
Come celebrate with us, through the smiles 
of young anglers. 


For subscriptions, 

circulation problems 

and address changes 



12 issues for $12.95 
24 issues for $23.95 

^K § Giving Something Back 

by King Montgomery 
Volunteers magnify agency outreach efforts 
beyond our highest hopes. 

The Canebrake Rattlesnake 

by Gail Brown 
With the help of the Navy and Old Dominion 
University, this snakes 's future looks a bit brighter. 

Special Love 

by Tee Clarkson 
One organization shines a light for families 
battling the darkness of cancer. 

The Learning Barge 

by Beth Hester 
Elizabeth River studies have never before been 
so accessible, or fun, for kids. 

Photo Tips 
On The Water 
Dining In 





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photos & story 
by Marie Majarov 

rhe historic town of Front 
Royal and surrounding 
Warren County have 
long held a dream. Here, the Blue 
Ridge Mountains descend magnifi- 
cently westward and the long and 
lovely Massanutten Mountain slopes 
gracefully eastward, creating a shel- 
tered, rich valley where the North and 
South forks of the mighty Shenan- 
doah River come together to form the 
meandering, famed "Oh Shenan- 
doah." The river eventually surges 
into the Potomac some 60 miles far- 
ther north at Harpers Ferry. Sur- 
rounded by such splendor, the dream 
has been to help connect the abundant 
natural beauties and unique resources 
of the area: magnificent rivers, Happy 
Creek, Shenandoah National Park, 
area schools, and nearby Smithsonian 
Conservation Biology Institute, 
Northern Virginia 4-H Conference 
Center, and Appalachian Trail. The re- 
sult is a greenway of natural areas and 
trails, walking and bicycle paths, and 
stunning views that inspire further 

The South Fork of the Shenandoah 
winds Its way north through the valley. 

conservation efforts and permit ap- 
propriate access, appreciation, 
learning, and enjoyment. 

As dreams often do, this one sim- 
mered gently in the background for 
almost 20 years until a dedicated 
group of citizens, the Front 
Royal /Warren County (FR/WC) 
Tree Stewards, came together to 
spearhead the dream's implementa- 
tion. Inspired by their strong love of 
walking and enjoying nature, the 
group seized an opportunity created 

JWcmtfUf ruiMau lattess jirs£c(jz^4/"ei 


^_^/ -Carl Sandburg 


left, Shenandoah National Park offers a magnificent springtime view of Front 
Royal/Warren County, the Shenandoah River, and the mountains beyond. 
Above, Sandy Wilson, co-chaIr of the Royal Shenandoah Greenway Committee 
(center) and other tree stewards look over a beautiful stand of bluebells. 

JULY 2010 

Instructor Herb Rinehart teaches the 
proper way to prune a tree. 

by three, unrelated developments: a 
newly built Department (DGIF) boat 
ramp at the town boat landing that 
enables easy access to the Shenan- 
doah; a donation of 15 acres of adja- 
cent open land by the family of for- 
mer Front Royal Mayor Jim Eastham 
to Warren County; and a dusted-off 
greenway plan called, "Where the 
Mountains Meet the River" They re- 
solved: "It's time; this can be done!" 

In existence since 1997, the 
FR/WC Tree Stewards are one of 
seven chapters of "Tree Stewards," a 
statewide program sponsored by the 
Virginia Urban Forest Council which 
operates under the umbrella of the 
state Department of Forestry (DOF). 
Their mission is to "enhance the qual- 
ity of life through stewardship of our 
commonwealth's urban and commu- 
nity trees." FR/WC Tree Stewards 
are volunteers who take a series of 
classes, "All About Trees," in which, 
through classroom training and 
hands-on practice, they learn the ba- 
sics of tree biology and physiology, 
identification, planting, and mainte- 
nance techniques. Additionally they 
make an annual commitment of 25 
service hours per person to FR/WC 
Tree Steward projects aimed at in- 
creasing awareness of the intrinsic 
value and beauty of trees; caring for 
the community's publicly planted 
trees (especially young trees); and ed- 
ucating the public about proper tree 
selection, planting, and care. 

Many of these citizens from all 
walks of life are retired. They bring to 
their endeavors a broad collection of 
skills, business acumen, artistic tal- 
ents, and a deep sense of concern 
about the environment. They repre- 
sent the collective push that got the 
greenway ball rolling. Under the 
leadership of Jim Huttar and Sandy 
Wilson, a conceptual master plan 
was commissioned by the Virginia 
Tech Community Design Assistance 
Center (a wonderful community re- 
source). Grants were obtained and 
the help of the area's Beautification of 
Front Royal Committee, town and 
county leaders, and supportive local 
individuals and businesses were en- 
listed. The result: a 4.4-mile "Royal 
Shenandoah Greenway" is now well 
underway, with the first major sec- 
tion along the Shenandoah River to 
be completed this summer. 

Shenandoah River 

The South Fork of the Shenandoah 
River, averaging about 100 feet in 
width, is a central component of the 
greenway. Beginning at the Luray 
Avenue Boat Landing, site of the 
DGIF boat ramp and Eastham Park, 
the greenway follows the South Fork 
of the Shenandoah River upstream to 
the south and east toward the Blue 
Ridge Mountains. An important 
north-south transportation route 
since Indian times, river banks in this 
area are lined with remnants of stone 
walls from days of yore when they 
served as the "Luray Turnpike" for 
delivering goods "up" to Luray and 
farther south in the Shenandoah Val- 
ley. (Remember, the river flows south 
to north and valley natives refer to 
"south" as "up" the valley.) 

DGIF trout stocking on Happy Creek is 
always exciting, with many young helping 
hands from Trout Unlimited. 

DGIF maintains 21 public boat ramp and 
access areas along the South Fork and 
main stem of the Shenandoah and an- 
other five on the river's North Fork. The 
U.S. Forest Service offers four additional 
entry locations for the public. Except for 
national forest and state park lands, 
much of the Shenandoah waterfront is 
privately owned, permitting quite limit- 
ed public entry to its beauty and 
recreational opportunities. 

The DGIF access points enable public 
enjoyment of navigable waters, primari- 
ly Class 1 rapids, and excellent fishing af- 
forded by the Shenandoah. Spaced out 
along the river, DGIF public landings 
make it possible to pick a float trip— to 
launch at one point and take your 
canoe/boat out at another. 

The Luray Avenue boat ramp and 
inviting surroundings represent an ex- 
ceptionally impressive collaborative ef- 
fort. The Department built a concrete 

ramp for ease of backing up trailers to 
launch canoes and boats; Warren Coun- 
ty provided a convenient parking area 
for vehicles and trailers at the adjacent 
Eastham Park; and the town of Front 
Royal with FR/WC Tree Stewards creat 
ed a picnic area enhanced with 
canopy shelters. Now that's 
partnership! Load up 
your canoe and 
enjoy. *^ 



Almost unrecognizable now as a 
road once bustling with wagons and 
commerce, it offers breathtaking 
views of the surrounding mountains 
and river. Rich soil nourishes a wide 
variety of trees: sycamore, willow, 
pawpaw, and beech; wildflowers the 
likes of violets, phlox, spring beau- 
ties, columbine, and dutchman's 
breeches; and of course, butterflies 
flutter around host plants. Overhead, 
bald eagles and ospreys can be spot- 
ted, as their nests are not far away. A 
variety of ducks and shorebirds fre- 
quently make fancy fly-in landings 
on the river to take advantage of tasty 
insects and vegetation while king- 
fishers perch overhead. 

Most spectacular is a dazzling 
stand of native, spring blooming Vir- 
ginia bluebells, Mertensia virginica. 
Blue blossoms stretch farther than 
you can see as you look along the 


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Garlic mustard, Alliaria petiolata, is 
a prodigious invasive and hard to 
eliminate. Pull it when you see it! 

beauty, and vast presence in this ri- 
parian zone. 

Working with the bluebells 
sounded another environmental 
alarm: garlic mustard, Alliaria petiola- 
ta, a prodigious invasive that swiftly 
crowds out native treasures. And so 
the pulling began. . . and continues, to 
protect this vital habitat. Conserva- 
hon is an ongoing commitment! 

Happy Creek 

Happy Creek, a fast moving urban 
trout stream and tributary of the 
Shenandoah, rambles delightfully 
through the town of Front Royal and 
adds another natural element of 
beauty and rich resources to the 
Royal Shenandoah Greenway. 
Stocked by DGIF for yearly "Kids 
Fishing Day" activities, Happy Creek 
is itself a story of major conservation 
effort and success. 

A day prior to the annual Trout 
Unlimited Kids Fishing Day, Alexis Carter 
and her dad get the honor of stocking 
the first fish at the DGIF trout stocking. 

river It is a perfect place for a conser- 
vation-conscious greenway path, 
and the tree stewards, many of 
whom are also master gardeners, are 
passionate conservationists and ad- 
vocates for all things native. 

The bluebells provide a touching 
example of tree steward environmen- 
tal caring. Recognizing that the 
JULY 2010 

Tree steward and greenway co-chair Jim Huttar and wife Emily, also a tree 
steward, transplant bluebells. 

planned greenway would go right 
through the assemblage of Virginia 
bluebells, tree steward Emily Huttar 
took on the laborious task of trans- 
planting those that were in harm's 
way and enlisted numerous stewards 
as well as master gardeners and mas- 
ter naturalists to carefully transplant 
the bluebells to areas along the path 
where they would not get tram- 
pled — ensuring their preservation. 

In 2008, DGIF, collaborating with 
numerous organizations such as 
Trout Unlimited, the Tree Stewards, 
the Town of Front Royal, Boy Scouts, 
Garden Clubs, and the DOF, under- 
took to rescue this stream from severe 
ongoing environmental degradation. 
Preserving trout streams is a major 
DGIF goal throughout the common- 
wealth. DGIF Fisheries Biologist 
Larry Mohn expertly constructed 




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For More Information 

• On Tree Stewards and Becoming 
a Tree Steward 

Front Royal Tree Stewards: 

Virginia Department of Forestry, 
Urban and Community Forestry: 

Virginia Urban Forest Council: 

• Fishing and Boating on the 
Shenandoah River and Happy Creek 

Virginia Department of Game and 
Inland Fisheries: 


DGIF biologists carefully placed rock vane structures along Happy Creek at the 
arboretum to protect this trout stream for future generations of fishermen to 
enjoy. Left, a mallard (and Happy Creek resident) enjoys some morning sun. 

rock vanes — structures of large rocks 
placed at angles to deflect currents 
and erosional forces from destabiliz- 
ing the stream's banks. Doing so of- 
fers flood protection to the riparian 
buffer and creates pools, termed 
scour pools, that enhance wildlife 
habitat. With safer stream banks, 
trout fishing opportunities will be ex- 
cellent for many decades to come. 

Along the banks of this coldwater 
fishery, the tree stewards maintain an 
active arboretum with native Vir- 
ginia trees, each meticulously labeled 
and maintained: witchhazel, sweet- 
bay magnolia, scarlet oak, American 
elder, red spruce, redbud, green 
hawthorne, serviceberry, Carolina 
silverbell, fringetree, sycamore, and 
black gum, to name but a few. A 
walking path features attractive 
benches and plantings of spring 
bulbs — a pleasant venue for sitting 

and enjoying the babbling sounds of 
Happy Creek and surrounding 

Cooperative greenway efforts 
such as the Royal Shenandoah 
Greenway do more than simply con- 
nect various geographical locations. 
They connect people to nature and 
afford important opportunities to in- 
crease buffers along river landscapes 
and open corridors for movement so 
essential to effective wildlife conser- 
vation. It takes a lot of effort, commit- 
ment, and plain old hard work on the 
part of many individuals and collab- 
orating organizations. But as the 
Front Royal Tree Stewards demon- 
strate: It can be done. Dreams do 
come true. D 

Marie ami Milan Majarov f tcicrc. iiinjarov.coni) 
arc clinical psi/chologists, nature enthusiasts, 
and members of the Virginia Outdoor Writers 
Association who live in Wincliester. 



asung Legacy 

"\ propose to create a Civilian Conservation 
Corps. . . SAore important, however, than the 
materialgains will be the moral and spiritual 
value of such work" 

Franklin D. Roosevelt, 
March 9, 1933 

. by Emily M. Grey 

In 1933, FDR began the Civilian 
Conservation Corps (CCC) to al- 
leviate unemployment during 
the Depression and to foster environ- 
mental stewardship. Using local con- 
struction materials and methods, 
young men worked on many conser- 
vation projects such as maintaining 
parks and forests, as well as fighting 

These committed workers re- 
ceived food, shelter, education, and a 
$30 per month stipend which saved, 
many of their families from hunger in 
tough times. Virtually every state ben- 
efited from millions of acres of federal 
and state land improvements, new 
roads, strung telephone lines, and 
plahted trees. With 53 and 91 camps at 
a given time, Virginia was the fifth 
highest recipient of CCC funds. 

"The CCC is everywhere around 
us here in Virginia," says Joan 
Sharpe, President of CCC Legacy in 
Edinburg. "As I speak' to people 
across the state and the nation, most 
aren't aware of the CCC even though 
the first camp in the nation is right 
here in Shenandoah County. " 

The CCC 
Fish Culture Legacy 

From 1933 to 1942, the CCC (known 
as "Roosevelt's Tree Army") con- 
structed four fish culture stations or 
hatcheries at Front Royal, King and 
Queen, Marion, and Montebello. 
This involved routing a w^ter source 
(a dam or spring) and digging ponds 
and raceways with earthen banks or 
wooden siding to control water flow. 

One or more buildings were used 
for incubation and rearing young , 

Presently, the Department's Fish- 
eries Division operates nine fish cul- 
ture stations (categorized as either 
"rearing stations" or "hatcheries") 
throughout the state. 

"Hatcheries have always played 
an important role in the Depart- 
ment's mission," explains David 
Whitehurst, director of the Bureau 
of Wildlife Resources. "Not only do 
they produce a wide variety of sport 
fish for recreational fishing, the 
state's public hatcheries have been 
instrumental in the restoration of de- 
pleted fish populations such as the 
striped bass and Amejican shad. 

"Another very important role in 
recent years has been the propaga- 
tion of threatened and endangered 
aquatic species for re-establishing 
populations in waters where they 
have become nearly extinct." 

Four warmwater facilities hatch 
and .rear species such as muskel- 
lunge, northern pike, striped bass, 
walleyes, catfish, largemouth bass, 
bluegill, and redear sunfish. These 
stations provide two to five million 
fish for annual stocking in Virginia 
waters and produce 10 to 15 million 
striped bass for trading with 15 
other states. 

Five coldwater facilities are en- 
gaged entirely in trout production, 
from hatching to raising to stocking. 
Over a million trout are reared to 
stocking size each year. v 

The Front Rtjyal Fish 
Culture Station 

Constructed in 1836, Wakeman's 
Mill was dismantled circa 1930 from 
this site and moved to Mt. Vernon. 
The commonwealth soon pur- 
chased the property, and the CCC 
commenced building this earliest 
state-owned hatchery. 

A 2002 Virginia CCC Fish Hatch- 
ery Survey found this venue to be a 
contributing historic resource and 
recommended Front Royal Fish 


All images courtesy of Clarence 
Thomas Cash, from his personal 
collection. Our deep appreciation is 
extended to C.T. Cash for sharing his 
pictures with us. 

Culture Station for nomination to the 
Virginia Landmarks Register and 
National Register of Historic Places. 
A dam, 27 ponds, a raceway system, 
cemetery, three buildings, and a 
swale from the mill comprise the 108- 
acre complex in Warren County. 
Much of the underground cypress 
piping remains intact. 

This warmwater hatchery pro-* 
duces and stocks fingerling size 
walleyes, smaUmouth bass, muskel- 
lunge, northern pike, and catchable 
(9- to 11 -inch) trout. It is also a distri- 
bution point for trout, catfish, and 
other species to the waters of north- 
em and northwestern Virginia. More 
than 140,000 fish were stocked from 
.the facility in 2009. 

The King and Queen Fisk 
Culture Station 

In 1936, local CCC labor moved 
earth, restructured a dam, and divert- 
ed a stream to construct ponds at this 
eastern Virginia venue. With the sue- 


cessful storage and breeding of large? 
mouth bass, bream, crappie, and 
pike, this warmwater hatchery ex- 
panded in 1942. 

The 42-acre cornplex of 25 ponds, 
seven buildings, and one raceway 
system was deterrhtned to be a non- 
contributing historic resource. Rich 
in other ways, this hatchery produces 
and stocks fingerling size (1- to 3- 
inch) walleye, striped bass, large- 
mouth bass, fathead minnows, 
bluegill, and redear sunfish. 

As part of a restoration program 
in the James, J^appahannock, and Pa- 
munkey rivers over the past several 
years, King & Queen staff hatched 
out and stocked millions of American 
shad. The hatchery was completely 
renovated in 2006 ^and stocked 1.2 
million fingerlings in 2009. 

Striped bass hatched at this facili- 
ty originated frorri fish taken from the 
Pamunkey and Mattaponi rivers. 
These specimens are stocked in lakes 
throughout the Chesapeake Bay 
drainage. American shad captured 

JULY 2010 

A Welcomed 

Nearly 80 years since FDR's CCC pro- 
gram, our nation finds itself in a similar 
boat with a challenging economy and 
fragile environment. 

Like the legendary CCC of the 
1930s, a recently established Corps 
Network serves as an umbrella group 
for 113 modern corps organizations 
across the nation. Based in Washing- 
ton, D.C., this entity offers young men 
and women an opportunity to change 
their communities through meaningful 
service. Modern corps efforts often 
provide a lifeline to low-income, out- 
of-school, out-of-work people, looking 
for a second chance. 


Harrison Lake National Fish Hatchery in 
Charles City will receive $175,000 fund- 
ing as part of the ARRA (American Re- 
covery and Reinvestment Act of 2009). 
The money will be used for crucial re- 
pairs to a water-supply system for a 
hatchery initiated during President 
Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal. 

On a former part of Berkeley Plan- 
tation, this 440-acre hatchery was cre- 
ated during the Depression with a 
water-supply system dating to the late 
18th century. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service still uses water from the lake to 
help stock Virginia's rivers with Ameri- 
can shad, nurse a fledgling sturgeon 
fishery, and restore endangered mus- 
sels to state tributaries. 


from the Pamunkey and Potomac 
rivers are used to produce fish for the 
restoration of James and Rappahan- 
nock river populations. 

Off State Route 14 (named The 
Trail) near Stevensville, the King and 
Queen Fish Culture Station also fea- 
tures a hiking and nature trail and is 
open for tours. 

The fish Culture 
Station at Marion 

Begun circa 1935 in Smyth County, 
this is the oldest of Virginia's trout 
culture facilities. Though this cold- 
water hatchery's earliest wooden 

"Our position is that a[l of the work of- the CCC 
boys is important whether you were building 
a latrine, dghtlng mosquitoes, working in a 
tree nursery, rearingfish, or buildinga scenic 
highway visited by millions," saysjoan Sharpe. 
"Virginia would be a very different pUce 
without the CCC and yet few know." 

structures are gone, a vibrant 1939 
hatchery building hosts water flow 
from unique aeration fountains to 
dam- and spring-fed raceways on the 
opposite side. 

Around 100,000 gallons of natural 
spring water contain nearly two mil- 
lion fish. More than 400,000 
spawned, hatched, and reared rain- 
bow, brook, and brown trout are re- 
leased in numerous state ponds in 
ten surrounding counties in South- 
west Virginia or transported to other 

This ten-acre property's aeration 
fountain structure, dam, nine ponds, 
raceway system, and nine buildings 
did not meet the criteria of a historic 
resource. However, the main brick 
hatchery building, aeration foun- 
tains, associated ponds, and manag- 
er's house were deemed worthy of 
retention and preservation. 


The Montebeiio 
Fish Hatchery 

There were originally no buildings at 
this hillside hatchery started in the 
1930s. Pitched raceway roofs and the 
wooded setting helped keep the 
water cool. 

Formerly, the downhill raceway 
contained 52 separate pens. After up- 
land pens were reinforced with con- 
crete in the 1940s, the lower section 
was abandoned. In time, adjacent 
land was annexed and additional 
buildings were acquired and con- 
structed. Original stone and concrete 
sides remain. 

features meriting retention and 
preservation are the source pond, 
raceway path, and accumulated 
small-scale buildings on the site. 

Just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, 
Appalachian Trail, and George 
Washington National Forest, Monte- 
bello is the most visited facility. This 
hatchery stocks trout in nine counties 
and five urban fishing lakes in and 
near Richmond and Northern Vir- 
ginia. In fact, it is the main source of 
trout for Virginia's urban fishing pro- 
gram, entirely in the eastern half of 
the state. Last year, 154,592 trout were 
stocked into public waters from 

Marion, King & Queen, and Mon- 
tebello fish culture stations are also 
designated sites on the Virginia Bird- 
ing and Wildlife Trail. 

"A new state record blue catfish 
was caught in May of 2009," says Ron 
Southwick, DGIF Fisheries Division 
Assistant Director. "It weighed just 
over 102 pounds and is the first fresh- 
water fish over 100 pounds caught in 
Virginia." D 

Emih/ M. Grey is a ivriter, photographer, natu- 
ralist, and attorney from Virginia's Eastern 
Shore. Her passions are nature, traveling, and 
interacting with varied cultures. 

^orMore Information 

DGIF Fish Hatcheries 
stocking/hatcheries. asp 

Civilian Conservation Corps 

The CCC Legacy 
Works with the Corps Network to 
support current corps projects that 
help improve CCC-developed lands. 

From the 1930s until its purchase 
in the 1970s, the Department leased 
this formerly private, commercial 
hatchery. About 60,000 pounds of 
brook, rainbow, and brown trout are 
grown each year at Montebello from 
fingerlings supplied by other hatch- 
eries. No spawning activity occurs 

During 2001, this smallest hatch- 
ery produced over 166,000 catchable 
size trout. All are reared in 33 outdoor 
raceways, supplied with water main- 
ly from on-site springs and nearby 
Mill Creek. Montebello trout go to all 
the trout waters east of the Blue 
Ridge, from Amherst County north- 

Like the Marion facility, this ap- . 
proximately eight-acre complex in 
Nelson County did not qualify as a 
historic resource. Character-defining 

JULY 2010 



Photo-essay by Lynda Richardson 
and Capt. Mike Ostrander 

ne of the nicest things 
about having a passion is 
[.' sharing it with others. 
One of my passions is 
fishing. When I was very 
young my dad, a die-hard fisherman 
his entire life, took me fishing. I al- 
ways looked forward to our trips to- 
gether and to this day I fondly re- 
member my fascination with die col- 
orful lures in his tackle boxes, Coke 
and peanut butter cracker snacks, fill- 
ing my hip waders with cold trout 
stream water when I fell in (well, 
maybe that wasn't a fond memory), 
and the pride I felt at making a great 
cast and sometimes bringing in an 
even bigger fish than my dad. (He 
might argue that point!) 

Because my dad shared his pas- 
sion for fishing with me, today I'm a 
die-hard angler myself. I look for any 
excuse to fish, but now my vision of 
where and how to do so has greatly 
expanded. In the Amazon River in 
Peru, for example, I used a plain old 
stick with a little fishing line and 
hunks of meat on the end to captvire 
red-bellied piranha. After several 
photography assignments to Alaska, I 
went back to fish for halibut and 
salmon on the Kenai Peninsula. I have 

Jackson Velzy, age 5 in this ptioto, tiold- 
ing up a tierring he caught in downtown 
Richmond. "I get excited just l<nowing 
that I might be able to catch a fish!" 

even fished while on an assignment 
when I covered a fly-fishing story for 
the Nature Conservancy in Belize. 

I would have to say that the gift of 
fishing is one of the best presents I 
ever received. It is a gift that keeps on 
giving for the rest of your life. 

Abigail Fischer, age 9 in this photo, 
holds the biggest fish she ever caught, 
a 36-lb. blue catfish from the James 
River in downtown Richmond. "My 
favorite thing aboutfishing is when I 
know I have a fish on the line and am 
about to reel it in... I'm excited to see 
how big it is!" 

Because of the challenges faced by 
young people today, I feel that it is 
more important than ever to share 
the gift of fishing. Children across the 
country are spending less time out- 
doors and more time sitting in front 
of a television or a computer — creat- 
ing in them a tremendous disconnect 
to the natural world. What would be 
better than fishing to get kids outside 
enjoying a little sun on their faces, 
forgetting life's worries, and sharing 
great times with family and friends? 
By doing so, you will give them the 
tools to create fun and memorable ex- 
periences they will appreciate for the 
rest of their lives. 

It sure worked for me. Thanks 
Dad!!! D 


Lynda Richardson is a full-tinic pliotojourimlist. 
Her Inisbaiid, Capt. Mike Ostrander, is a well- 
known James River fishing and eagle tour guide. 



Joel Cox (11) holding a largemouth near West Point "I like fishing because it is so peace- 
ful. I like to fish by myself in remote places and sneak through bushes to get to the fish. " 

Nick Boston (12) on the lower James 
with the biggest fish he's ever caught, 
a blue cat. "Out of all my days fishing, 
this was the mother of all catches!" 

Left to right, Caroline (8) and Eva 
Tyler (1 1) and Sasha Savenko (1 1), 
ages when this photo was taken, hold 
a small channel cat caught during a 
kids fishing event at Westover Planta- 
tion along the James River. Caroline, 
"This was my first time fishing, and 
yeah, I would do it again. It was fun!" 
Eva, "My favorite thing aboutfishing 
is touching the fish— seeing the fins 
and stuff. Itfelt slimy and cool!" 


^uli^ 17tk 

Is NaHoKal f 
P^CskCKq t^ 

JULY 2010 

The many dimensions 

of our complementary 



photos & story 
by King Montgomery 

ave you ever wanted to stock 
trout in a stream or lake, test 
deer tissue samples for chron- 
ic wasting disease, staff a Depart- 
ment (DGIF) display booth at an out- 
doors show or other event, be a 
shooting range attendant, help re- 
store wildlife habitat, work in a fish 
hatchery, or do clerical or field work 
in a regional office? 

Okay, and if you can answer "yes" 
to one or more of the following ques- 
tions, you could become a member of 
the Department's Complementary 
Work Force (CWF): 
-^ Do you love the outdoors? 
-> Would you like to "give back" to 
Virginia's fisheries and wildlife re- 
-> Do you like to interact with others 
who share your interests, and 
teach those who want to learn 
about Virginia's natural re- 
-^ Do you want to make a differ- 

The Program 

In the tough economy we've all faced 
these past several years, it's difficult 
for DGIF to hire more qualified peo- 
ple, even though the Department's 
mission and reach keep expanding. 
To help mitigate the budget situation, 
and to assist employees, the CWF 
was begun almost three years ago. 

The CWF uses trained part-time 
volunteers and interns to help the 
Department accomplish its mission. 
These citizen volunteers give their 
time and talents to augment and en- 
hance the efforts of the Department's 
professional, technical, and adminis- 
trative staff. 

Led by CWF State Coordinator 
Susan Alger, a former game warden, 
pilot programs were initiated in 
DGIF Regions 1 and 5, and in Region 
4 for trout stocking only. The CWF 
became an almost immediate success 
and since has expanded fully into Re- 
gion 4, with plans to soon cover the 
entire state. 

As we entered 2010, there were 
over 230 active CWF volunteers and 
almost 350 pending applications! 
Some people signed up from regions 
not yet participating, hoping to be 
first in line when the opportunity 


The Genesis 

By late 2006, Susan Alger had been a 
game warden, one of the first 
women to hold that position, for 27 
years. She suggested the DGIF have 
a cadre of volunteers to help full- 
time employees in offices and in the 
field by performing routine and 
time-consuming tasks. Her proposal 

Children learn about the fishes in the nearby creek by seeing and touching them. 
CWF volunteer Tim Hall teaches the kids about the fish and the ecosystem in which 
they live. The fish are kept in an aquarium and released after the event. 




Future fisheries biologists lool< on. 

was accepted and she was asked to 
organize, recruit, and lead what 
came to be known as the Comple- 
mentary Work Force. 

These volunteers never would 
replace employees, but rather, 
would allow employees to focus on 
core job responsibilities by handling 
the many other activities that can 
detract from the primary mission. 
The volunteers truly are a work 
force multiplier and the synergy of 
their efforts, combined with their 
professionalism, makes the Depart- 
ment more efficient. 

What's to Do 

One example of the many activities 
to perform in the CWF involves par- 
ticipating in an ongoing Virginia 
Tech/DGIF program for a year-long 
data gathering project in the 
Wildlife Management Areas 
(WMAs). The "Wildlife Manage- 
ment Area and Range User Survey" 


collects information on frequency of 
visits; activities pursued while visit- 
ing the WMAs; suggestions from vis- 
itors for improving service and ac- 
cess; and user feedback on current 
fish, game and non-game wildlife, 
and land management techniques 
and objectives. 

Most of the data are collected by 
CWF volunteers in ten WMAs and 
range sites statewide. Four hundred 
and sixty surveys were collected on 
opening day of dove season in Sep- 
tember, 2009, and 375 surveys were 
recorded for archery deer season on 
October 3rd that year. The informa- 
tion collected is used to influence 

planning and resources manage- 
ment for the WMAs and ranges. 

And there is, of course, much 
more that volunteers can do. For a 
list of some of these other opportuni- 
ties, see the web link provided at the 
end of this article. 

CWF Volunteer Sampler 

John Gibbons, a CWF volunteer 
from Oakton, holds degrees in ac- 
counting and in business manage- 
ment. He's a program manager for 
the federal government, and he 
loves hunting and fishing. Deer 
hunting is his passion. 

"I joined the CWF to learn more 
about deer herd management and to 
participate in the writing of deer kill 
permits. As I learned more about the 
CWF, I realized that I can also per- 
form volunteer tasks supporting a 
second interest of mine, aquacul- 
ture, by working at a fish hatchery. 
The more I learn about the organiza- 
tion, the more I plan to do with CWF. 

CWF volunteer Kyle Alger, son of CWF State Coordinator Susan Alger, teaches 
a youngster not to be afraid of snakes, but to be respectful. 

JULY 2010 


tl shock up fish for children and 

Another benefit I receive from CWF 
volunteer efforts is learning more 
about the outdoors and resource 
management from an agency point 
of view. Yet another benefit is the in- 
trinsic value I receive through volun- 
teering. Virginia does a fine job in 
providing opportunities for its citi- 
zens to enjoy the outdoors. Over the 
years, DGIF staff have made a favor- 
able impression on my family 
through a variety of outdoors pro- 
grams. It is my duty to return the 

Kyla Knudson is a Region 5 vol- 
unteer with a degree in natural re- 
sources management, who works in 
the hotel arena. Originally from Cal- 
gary in Alberta, Canada, she now 
lives in Fairfax City. Watching her 
work the DGIF booth at Herndon's 
NntureFcst in September 2009, she is 
both knowledgeable and personable 
when dealing with the public, and is 
very good with children. Kyla also 
worked at the Wildlife Management 


Area Survey, including during open- 
ing day of dove season in the fall, 

"I had a blast at the Phelps WMA 
survey on Saturday," she says. It's 
nice seeing people having fun when 
performing valuable volunteer serv- 

Charlottesville's Hugh Nix 
trained to issue deer kill permits to 
landowners who experience deer 
damage on their property and issues 
these permits in and around Albe- 
marle County. He also mans DGIF 
booths at various events and helped 
young people participating in the 
National Archery in the Schools Pro- 
gram — including the tournament 
held in Fisherville in 2009. Hugh is a 
retired Fairfax County Police lieu- 
tenant and later retired from 
Northrop Grumman as manager of 
security investigations. 

Tim Hall works in the automobile 
refinishing business and has been an 
avid hunter and dedicated angler 

since childhood. "I joined the CWF 
program because it's my way to 
give back to what I have enjoyed my 
whole life and maybe something I 

CWF volunteer Ed Clarke, a professional 
entomologist, instructs visitors about the 
insect life in Runnymede Park. 



do will protect or even make outdoor 
experiences better for our future gen- 
erations. I really deeply love every- 
thing I have done with the CWF — 

CWF volunteer Kyla Knudson teaches 
an enthusiastic audience. 

from writing deer damage permits, 
to working with kids trying to catch 
fish, to the National Archery in the 
Schools Program tournament. I've 
also spent time helping with chronic 
wasting disease testing in the field." 

I've seen Tim work with small 
children, showing them various 
fishes that were shocked up from a 
nearby stream. When he gets a 
crowd, he'll reach in the ac|uarium 
and grab a fish, and let the kids 
quickly and gently touch it before it 
goes back into the water. The 
squeals of delight speak for them- 

Hall says, "This program is awe- 
some and I encourage anyone that 
feels the urge to give back to sign 
up — you won't regret it. When I see 
a 5-year-old child catch their first 
fish, I feel like I caught that fish. No 
better feeling." 

Volunteering can pose chal- 
lenges: finding time in life for the 
extra commitment, and having to 

take directions when many volun- 
teers, professionals in their own right, 
are used to calling the shots. But new 
experiences are broadening. Motivat- 
ed, capable people always are wel- 
comecl, whether in the CWF or the 
traditional workforce. Especially as 
some folks defer retirement or other 
career opportunities due to financial 
uncertainties, the ability to pursue 
one's passion takes on new meaning 
anci new rewards. 

State Coordinator Susan Alger has 
now retired after 30 years of service 
with the DGIF, and she plans to con- 
tinue to volunteer in her community. 
"I've been a volunteer my whole 
life," she says, "so I recognize iii CWF 
volunteers the same sentiment I've 
always felt — the desire to give some- 
thing back, to make thiiigs better for 
those who come after me — to help 

Alger may be retired, but her lega- 
cy lives on in the Complementary 
Work Force Program she conceived, 
implemented, and led for three years. 
Retired doesn't mean inactive. She 
says, "I'm not ready to stop con- 
tributing to my community. It's just 
part of who I am." 

With volunteers like those de- 
scribed here, and the many otliers in 
the CWF, and a leader of Susan 
Alger's caliber, it is no wonder that 
this fine program has become such a 
success in the Old Dominion. L' 

Longtime contributor King Montgomery is a 
wcU-lcnozon outdoor loriter and pliotograplier 
His works liave been featured in main/ publica- 
tions. Contact him at kinganglerl 

Contact Us 

Virginia Department of Game 
and Inland Fisheries Comple- 
mentary Work Force Program 

Call 804-322-9529 or go to: 

CWF information, application 
forms, and newsletters are all 

JULY 2010 


story & photos by Gail Brown 

Paying respect 





The Department of the Navy 
may own Naval Support 
Activity Northwest Annex 
(NSA NWA) in Chesapeake, but it's 
the mosquitoes, greenbrier, reptiles, 
and ticks that rule the land. "The 
mosquitoes were aggressive... the 
bears mostly curious. . .But it was the 
ticks that really got to me. I would be 
covered from head to toe with tiny 
'seed' ticks. When 1 got home I'd sit 
watching TV, get some tape and pull 

them off by the hundreds. It got so 
bad my friends wouldn't ride in my 
car," says former field technician 
Chris Petersen. 

Hacking through the thickets of 
the Great Dismal Swamp is not for 
the faint of heart. So why would any- 
one do so? The answer lies hidden in 
the leaf litter, coiled in ambush by 
fallen and standing trees, or, as Pe- 
tersen once discovered, sunning on 
an oak branch just overhead. There, 



like a bored sentry considering an 
uninvited guest, Crotalus horridus 
tracked Petersen with idle detach- 
ment. Determining no threat from 
the interloper, the canebrake rat- 
tlesnake shifted his attention else- 

That the two previously crossed 
paths in the herpetology lab at Old 
Dominion University (ODU), and 
that the receiver held by Petersen — a 
divining rod to the radio transmitter 
implanted in the canebrake — 
brought the two together again 
meant nothing to the reptile. But to 
all others involved with the Old Do- 
minion Canebrake Rattlesnake Proj- 
ect, locating specific canebrakes in 
the 3,661 acres of lowland forest on 
the annex, it meant opportunity: op- 
portunity to use radiotelemetry to 
gather data about the canebrake 
population, which in Virginia is lim- 
ited to the Lower Peninsula (York- 
James) — specifically. Isle of Wight 
County and Chesapeake, Suffolk, 
and Virginia Beach. Although no 
longer listed as a sub-species of the 
timber rattlesnake, the Department 
does recognize the canebrake as "a 
unique population worthy of protec- 
tion as a state endangered species." 

To that end, the Old Dominion 
Canebrake Rattlesnake Project, 
under the direction of Dr. Alan H. 
Savitzky, Department of Biological 
Sciences, began at the Northwest 
River Park in 1992. Monitoring con- 
tinued at the park until 1995 when 
the project was moved to NSA 
NWA. There, partnering with the 

Canebrakes are not aggressive. 
For protection, they blend into their 

Department of the Navy and the 
Department of Game and Inland 
Fisheries, the ODU study continued 
until 2007. Today work still contin- 
ues on a limited basis because of the 
dedication of the individuals in- 

Historically, Benjamin Franklin 
brought the canebrake to promi- 
nence when he declared the rat- 
tlesnake the perfect symbol for 
America, saying, "She never begins 
an attack, nor, when once engaged, 
ever surrenders: She is therefore an 
emblem of magnanimity and true 
courage. . .she never wounds 'till she 
has generously given notice, even to 
her enemy..." During the American 
Revolution it was the rattlesnake, on 
a red and wliite striped background 
with the warning "Don't Tread on 
Me" that made one of our first flags — 
the Navy Jack — a symbol of defiance, 
strength, and military power. 

Yet, somehow the tides turned 
and decades of misinformation find 
the canebrake persecuted for what it 
is not. Today it is the canebrake under 
attack and the Navy providing sup- 
port. But as in the fable of the mouse 
that pulls a thorn from the mighty 
lion's paw, the canebrake has a pow- 
erful friend with a long memory. 
"The Navy has been an outstanding 
partner in this project," states Sav- 
itzky. "They have a very enlightened 
attitude about conservation of our 
natural resources." So much was 
learned because of this partnership; 
yet, the critical question that eludes 
all scientific studies involving endan- 
gered animals and man remains as 
cryptic today as the canebrake itself. 
Here is how the study unfolded: 

Once captured, the snakes were 
brought to the lab and implanted 
with a radio trcinsmitter and a pas- 
sive integrated transponder (PIT) tag. 

Surgeries were conducted in the herpetology lab at Old Dominion University. 

Animals were imp'mntcd with liinperature 
sensitive radio transmitters and PIT tags. 

JULY 2010 




(All additional canebrakes captured in the field 
were also imbedded with PIT tags, as doing so 
helps provide information about population 
size.) Following surgery all snakes were released 
at the site of relocation within 24-48 hours. They 
were located again through the use of a hand- 
held receiver. Each time a snake was located, 
data on environmental conditions at the site, as 
well as on specific behaviors — such as shedding, 
courtship, and feeding — were documented. 
Fecal samples analyzed indicate that gray squir- 
rels are their primary source of food. The spot of 
capture was marked with a flag so that the site 
could later be recorded with a GPS receiver. 
Since the locations of the snakes were document- 
ed, distances traveled by specific snakes during 
the various seasons could be determined. The t'^' 
studies showed that male canebrakes require a 
range of approximately 224 acres, two to three 
times as much area as females, with males travel- 
ing the greatest distances during mating season 
in late summer and early fall. This indicates the 
need for large, contiguous, undeveloped areas of 
land — a habitat requirement not easily met in 
southeastern Virginia. 

The land at the annex is primarily lowland 
forest with a thick understory, but documenta- 
tion indicates the canebrakes were most often lo- 
cated in a deciduous forest area on-site. It ap- 
pears canebrakes prefer to stay in a forested 
habitat except when shedding or giving birth; at 
that time they seek the warmth of clearcuts. That, 
however, leaves them open to interaction with 
people and danger. The study showed cane- 
brakes most often hibernate alone in root tun- 
nels, whereas mountain rattlesnakes (commonly 
referred to as timber rattlesnakes) hibernate in 
large masses in dens. "It is very important for us 
to find out where they hibernate," states Sav- 
itzky. "A canebrake might go to the same place 
for years and years and then all of a sudden 
make a change. We do not understand why." 

When Hurricane Isabel struck in 2003, trees 
were toppled, the forest canopy was torn open, 
and extensive coarse woody debris was created. 
This changed the environment at NS A NWA and 
affected the life patterns of the canebrake. "Hur- 
ricane Isabel offered an almost unheard of op- 
portunity to compare data collected in the same 
location, on the same animals, under uniquely 
different conditions," states Wildlife Diversity 
Biologist/ Herpetologist John (JD) Kleopfer. 

Left, animals anesthetized for surgery were 
implanted within 24 hours of capture. Most 
were released within 24 hours post-surgery. 



Canebrakes are relocated by means of a handheld receiver and directional antenna. 
Information about the snake and environmental conditions are recorded. 

"Following the hurricane, the open- 
ings in the forest canopy warmed the 
forest floor and it was found that the 
snakes stayed closer to their hiber- 
nacula. It appears these natural open- 
ings in the forest canopy are an im- 
portant habitat requirement of the 

By 2007, 13,895 observations on 47 
individual snakes had been complet- 
ed. During the NSA NWA study, the 
movements of up to 16 snakes a day 
were tracked for 6 days a week in the 
summer and 3 days a week in the 
winter. Of all the data collected, the 
shared observations about the cane- 
brake's temperament are most stun- 
ning. Former field technician Scott 
Goetz states, "They have a certain 
confidence about them. . .you feel like 
the last thing they want to do is 
bite... they'd rather just let you walk 
on by. It's so unfair that they have 
been so demonized." 

"The snakes rely on their ability to 
remain cryptic," states Savitzky, 
"even if closely approached they are 
not aggressive. They act totally differ- 
ently in captivity and when they are 
on the move... then, you don't want 
to mess with them; otherwise, they 
are extremely calm." All agree that 
when found in a coiled position it is 

easy to just scoop them up with a 
snake hook and put them in a bag for 
study. They are tliat gentle. 

While the study holds much hope 
for conservation efforts, habitat loss 
and human predation continue to 
decimate Virginia's canebrake popu- 
lation. Perhaps that we have any at all 
is a small miracle: Canebrakes have 
been completely extirpated from On- 
tario, Canada, Rhode Island, and 
Maine. "Because of the lack of habi- 
tat, delisting is unlikely," states 
Kleopfer. "The best we can hope for is 
downgrading the canebrake's status 

Roof tunnels are typical hibernation 
sites for canebrakes. 

Transmitters are replaced after 
approximately fu/o years. 

to threatened." Compounding the ef- 
fects of habitat loss, canebrakes — al- 
ways the villains in tall tales and 
scary movies — continue to pay the 
price for Hollywood hype. 

Yet science has trumped fiction 
time and again, and now that we 
have a conservation plan with guide- 
lines for law enforcement and educa- 
tion, there is reason for hope. Legisla- 
tion or not, however, it is our unpre- 
dictable actions that will decide the 
fate of the canebrake. "People may 
wonder why we need these snakes," 
states Kleopfer. "In truth, if they go 
the way of the [native] buffalo, 
mountain lion, and elk, things will 
probably still go on, but each time we 
lose a species we lose part of who we 
are. The critical question is: How 
many species can we afford to lose? 
When does it make a difference?" 

The answer, like the canebrake, 
won't be easy to find. 

Yet, clues to the bigger picture 
exist. Consider this: In the void that 
followed 9/11, the Secretary of the 
Navy directed all Navy ships to fly 
the First Navy Jack for the duration of 
the global war on terrorism. Seeing 
those red and white stripes with the 
words "Don't Tread on Me" and the 
canebrake stretched out in motion 
fills a need and pulls us together. It's 
like one of our leaders simply 
reached back into our collective his- 
tory to find what we needed — a liv- 
ing touchstone to help us through a 
painful time. D 

Gail Brown is a retired teacher (vui sclwol 

JULY 2010 


Essay by Tee Clarkson 

"TBk Unfortunately it is often 

j^r ^T the seriousness of life 

mm ywm that reminds us not to 

^If TT take life too seriously. 

There is nothing more sobering, or 

with any more universal impact on 

the human experience, than cancer. 

Almost everyone has lost someone to 

cancer, knows someone who has 

fought it, or has fought it themselves. 

It is one thing to deal with cancer 
as an adult, but another thing alto- 
gether to face the realities of cancer as 
a child or the parent of a child who 
has been diagnosed with the disease. 
Special Love, an organization based 
out of Winchester, knows something 
about this and has made it their mis- 
sion to help children with cancer 
enjoy the normal, fun things kids 
love. Specifically, Camp Fantastic, a 
week-long camp for kids 
with cancer or who have 
fought cancer in the last 
several years, gets chil- 
dren outdoors to play 
and goof off in a natural 

Special Love was 
founded in 1983 by 
Tom and Sheila Baker 
of Winchester. They 
had lost their daugh- 
ter, Julie, a few years 
earlier to lymphoma, 
and wanted to do 
something to help 
children and their 
milies who were going 

through difficulties similar to what 
they had faced, and were still facing. 
In 1983, Camp Fantastic welcomed 
29 children for a week-long adven- 
ture that included canoeing, hiking, 
swimming, and other traditional 
camp experiences. Special Love now 
serves over 1,000 people annually 
with the help of hundreds of volun- 

Dave Smith was a counselor at 
that initial Camp Fantastic and has 



been Special Love's full-time direc- 
tor since 1987. "I was teaching nature 
and canoeing as a summer employee 
at the 4-H center when Camp Fantas- 
tic — and Special Love's subsequent 
programs — were developed," Dave 
says, "so I have a special apprecia- 
tion for the therapeutic value of 
being in a natural environment, not 
just for young cancer patients but for 
any camp participant. The setting for 
our camps is a key component of our 
program agenda. Much of what we 
schedule is centered around the en- 
vironment in which we hold the 
events — whether it's fishing in Lake 
Culpeper, hiking the Appalachian 
Trail, or hunting for 'creek critters' in 
the streams around Harmony Hol- 

Dave is quick to acknowledge the 
selfless help Special Love's pro- 
grams receive from individual vol- 
unteers and organizations. Trout Un- 
limited (TU) is one of those organiza- 
tions. TU has been instrumental in 
helping with Camp Fantastic and 
other Special Love programs for the 
past 12 to 15 years. "They are deeply 

JULY 2010 

committed to teach- 
ing the love of fishing 
and respect for the 
water to the kids and 
their parents," Dave 

Lowcuie Johnson, of 
the Rapidan Chapter of 
TU, has been personally 
involved in helping with 
the Special Love pro- 
j grams since 1999. He and 
* the rest of the TU volun- 
teers take the kids out to 
seine streams and learn 
about entomology in the 
morning and then take 
them fishing in the after- 
noon. "Our goal," Lowane 
says, "is to provide the nor- 
mal kid-type experiences 
for them. It's a lot of fun to 
see them get involved." 

The healing that takes place in the 
rivers, streams, and on the banks of 
the ponds, is not just for the children, 
but for the families as well. Special 
Love learned early on that when one 
member of the family has cancer, the 
whole family has cancer. Perhaps 
more than anything, their programs 
let the children and their families 
know that they are not alone. What 
better way to do that than while wad- 
ing in a stream or feeling the tug of a 
fish on the line? D 

Tee Clarkson is an English teacher at Deep Run 
High School in Henrico Co. and runs Virginia 
Fishing Adzientures, a fishing camp for kids: 

For more information 

To contact Special Love, visit: 

Thanks to Dave Smith and Special Love for 
contributing these photographs. 


i»n '^JJHJ 


Learning Barge docked at Portsmouth waterfront. 


LvvAOr 5r:s 

Floating Classroom 

Cultivates New 

Generation of River 

Conscious Citizens 

"Public Access to natural areas inspires 
people to care, and caring people are 
more likely to act. It takes a marriage of 
heart and mind, hut it comes first from 
the heart. " 

-Marjorie Mayfield Jackson, 
Exec. Director, Elizabeth River Project 

by Beth Hester 

Launched on September 14th, 
2009, The Learning Barge is 
an unusual vessel. She's an 
award-winning 120' x 32' steel- 
hulled. Coast Guard-certified floating 
classroom that traverses the waters of 
the Elizabeth River and lower Chesa- 
peake Bay from April through No- 
vember. Along the way, the barge is 
t; transported by tugboat and docked at 
2 various strategic points, affording 

thousands of Hampton Roads school 
f children who might not otherwise 

1 have had access to the river, a uiiique 
E opportunity to learn about alterna- 
f5 tive power, river stewardship, tidal 
^ ecosystems, and the importance of 
t the various plants and animals that 
u call the wetlands home. 



The barge is a self-sustaining edu- 
cational environment, a mobile field 
station of sorts, crafted from recycled 
materials, and powered by solar or 
wind energy. In addition to an en- 
closed classroom and various learn- 
ing stations, the vessel supports a con- 
tained-bed wetland that filters gray 
water and also creates habitat. No 
convenience has been overlooked, as 
the barge sports the latest in compost- 
ing toilet technology and filtered rain- 
water hand washing stations. Once 
on board, students cycle through six 
learning stations, each with hands-on. 

Marjorie Mayfield Jackson, Execu- 
tive Director of the ERP, described 
this synergy in a recent interview: 
"The construction of the Learning Barge 
has been a many-faceted educational ex- 
perience, hi addition to our school chil- 
dren learning about environmental 
stewardship, the University of Virginia 
students learned more about green build- 
ing methods, and they were able to actu- 
ally help construct portions of the ivs- 
sel. is rare for those students to actu- 
ally build what they design. In addition, 
the Virginia Ship Repair Association 
plans to use our barge for their apprentice 

training, and those students will help us 
maintain the barge going forward. " 

The curricilum was developed by 
an advisory committee, including 
science coordinators from all four of 
Hampton Roads' school districts: 
Portsmouth, Norfolk, Chesapeake, 
and Virginia Beach. The lesson plans 
and site-specific activities target 
grades 6-8, complement the Virginia 
Standards of Learning, and fill identi- 
fied voids in existing instruction. The 
barge also supports teacher training 
and promotes public outreach. Robin 
Dunbar, aka Princess Elizabeth, is the 

©Robert Anders, courtesy of The Elizabeth River Project 

Princess Elizabeth, aka Robin Dunbar, 
brings the history of the river to life. 

experiential activities that include 
oyster floats, a seining pool, and the 
chance to get up close and personal 
with eels, turtles, fish, river otters, and 
other watershed creatures. Students 
learn about the roles native flora and 
fauna play in a healthy ecosystem, 
and are encouraged to envision their 
own relationship with the river, ex- 
ploring simple things they can do to 
promote clean waterways. 

In collaboration with the non-prof- 
it Elizabeth River Project (ERP), the 
barge was designed by students in the 
architecture department of the Uni- 
versity of Virginia, and was partially 
funded through a combination of 
grants, and the generosity of corpo- 
rate sponsors from around the state. 

Learning stations provide students with access to river life through hands-on 
experiences, while fun can be had through more creative expression. 

JULY 2010 


Creativity is the l<ey to the learning process, as any smart fish decorator 
will tell you. 

Elizabeth River Project's public out- 
reach manager and is responsible for 
conducting a number of creative edu- 
cational experiences and field trips 
for children. She can be found in full 
Elizabethan regalia sharing informa- 
tion about the history of the Elizabeth 
River, river stewardship, and native 
wetland plants. 

Christie Sykes, an educator from 
Norfolk Collegiate, recently evaluat- 
ed one of the field trips attended by 
their students: "I've been teachi}igfor a 
lot of years and I've been on a lot of field 
trips, but I've never been on a trip so en- 
gaging, fun, and educational. Every 
learning station was child-friendly, inno- 
vative, and informative. Thank you, 
thank you for providing our students 
with a learning experience that not only 
teaches them about the importance of 

Nozv, I'm getting my parents to recycle 
and don 't use too much fertilizer and rain 
is the only thing that should go down the 
drain. Also scoop the poop, because we 
have a big fat bulldog that eats three 
scoops of food three times a day. Also, I 
planted an acorn tree in our backyard. 
My mom will never go in the backyard 
again because she is terrified of squirrels. 

Your friend, Aaron. 

Now that's an endorsement! D 

Beth Hester is a writer and freelance photogra- 
pher from Portsmouth. Her passions include 
reading, shooting, kayaking, fishing, tying salt- 
loater flies, and tending her herb garden. 

For Information 

To learn more about the Elizabeth 
River Project's initiatives, and how 
you can help, visit their website: 

Elizabeth River Project 
475 Water Street, Suite 103A 
Portsmouth, VA 23704-3823 
Phone: 757-399-7487 

keeping the Elizabeth River clean, but 
also about making a difference in our 
world. " 

The Learning Barge, and the ini- 
tiatives developed for it, are shining 
examples of what can be accom- „ 
plished when seemingly disparate f 
entities work toward the common t 
goal of educating the next generation I 
of Virginia's river-conscious citizens, | 
who in turn will become the anglers, | 
pleasure boaters, paddlers, garden- 1 
ers, and wildlife watchers of the fu- "o 
ture. Teacher approval is a good S 
gauge of the program's success, but § 
perhaps students express it best in % 
their own idiosyncratic language: < 

Dear Princess Elizabeth and crew. | 
The field trip was awesome, and 1 zvas | 
taught something of value, 'we must 
clean our world or it xvill be no more.' 

Here and p. 26, students learn the 
importance of marsh vegetation. 





2010 Outdoor 
Calendar of Events 

Unless otherwise noted, for current infor- 
mation and registration on workshops go 
to the "Upcoming Events" page on our 
website at or call 

July 20: Flat Out Catfish I, Pony 
Pasture, James River, Richmond. 

July 29 & 31, August 5, 7, &10: 

Flash CUnic: How to Use Your Camera's 
Flash, with Lynda Richardson at 
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. 
Call (804) 262-9887 X322 or go to 

August 10: Flat Out Catfish U, Pony 
Pasture, James River, Richmond. 

August 12, 14, 19, 21 & 24: An Intro- 
duction to Photographing Butterflies 
and Other Cool Bugs, with Lynda 
Richardson at Lewis Ginter Botanical 
Garden. Call (804) 262-9887 X322 or 
go to or 

August 13-15: Virginia Outdoor 
Sportsman Shoiv, Richmond; 

August 20-22: Mother-Daughter 
Outdoors Weekend, Holiday Lake4-H 
Center, Appomattox. 

August 28: Jakes Event; Page Valley 
Sportsman's Club; contact Art 
Kasson at (540) 622-6103 or 

September 11:-12 Eastern Regional 
Big Game Contest, 

September 25: Youth Deer Hunting 
Day, (ages 15 and younger). 

September 25-26: Western Regional 
Big Game Contest and State 

JULY 2010 




by Beth Hester 

Catfishing in the South 


Illustrated with black and white 


University of Tennessee Press 


"Cats have become an imp>ortant sport 
fisli on many rivers and lakes throughout 
the South, and they are finally being rec- 
ognized for more than their fiying-pan 
qualities, which, incidentally, are unri- 
valed in the minds of many anglers and 
non-anglers alike. " 


Crispy catfish fillets dredged in sea- 
soned cornmeal have long graced 
many a southern fish-fry. These 
stout-bodied, freshwater creatures 
have a high caloric count, and for 
countless generations, through good 
economic times and bad, they've 
been an important source of protein 
for the family table. 

But catfish don't have a lot of 
snob appeal, and the number of 
books written specifically for catfish 
anglers is small, indeed, when com- 
pared to titles devoted to trout or 
bass — though numerous angling 
surveys rank catfish among the most 
popular sport fish in the nation. 

If you want to learn more about 
the history of catfishing, tackle tips, 
and techniques, and the best waters 
in the South from which to reel in 
your quarry, then Jeff Samsel's book 
should be in your fishing library. It 

covers the best catfishing areas all 
across the southeastern U.S., and the 
chapter focused on Virginia hotspots 
not only tells you where the fishing 
holes are, but describes their evolu- 
tion, and what characteristics make 
these waters special and oh-so-attrac- 
tive to Virginia's catfish populations. 

The James and Rappahannock 
are considered to be world-class cat- 
fish destinations. Non-native blue 
catfish were introduced in the 1970s, 
and the population flourished. Multi- 
ple trophy-sized fish have been taken 
from these rivers. Two of the James' 
largest tributaries, the Appomattox 
and the Chickahominy, are home to 
both blue and channel catfish, and 
the James River boasts its share of 
flatheads. Other catfish waters of 
note include: Claytor and Kerr lakes, 
the New River, and the Occoquan 

To help you enjoy the fish you de- 
cide to keep, the book offers twelve 
delicious ways to serve up your cat- 
fish via stew, gumbo, casserole, pan, 
or grill. You'll want to get yourself a 
tall glass of sweet tea with lemon, 
prop open tliis book, and dream of 
your next catfishin' destination. D 

Virjtaia feparf went of Jame and Inland f ijheriM 

Outdoor Report <^v 

MaMitglng and Conserving ^^r 

For a free email subscription, 

visit our website at 

Click on the Outdoor Report link 

and simply fill in the 

required information. 


Kudos to Mr. Brooks Lindamood for capturing this magnificent image of an 
American woodcock while morel hunting. The American woodcock (Scolopax 
minor) is found statewide but in the western counties only during breeding season. 
A shorebird that is also at home in upland reaches, the woodcock is a prodigious 
consumer of earthworms and also diets on insects, larvae, and assorted sedges. 
During spring, the bird uses areas of mixed hardwoods and pines for singing 
grounds and nesting. It favors wetter areas with trees such as older, dogwood, 
and crab apple during summer but scavenges dry fields for insects. 


BomimJ C®pies ©f 
¥irgjiiw WiWliffe 


Aimual Editioins 

Lfrom W9B 

tlirougli! 2©®a 

Are Available in Limited Supply 

$26.75 per edition (includes S/H) 

Pay by Check Only to : 

Treasurer of Virginia 

IVlail to : 

Virginia Wildlife Magazine 

P.O.Box 11104 
Richmond, VA 23230- 1 104 

Include your full name, daytime phone, 

and USPS shipping address. 

Reference Item No. VW-230 and the 

year(s) you are purchasing. 

Pkase allow 3 weeks 
for receipt of order. 





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Reading You t 

- Label 

Is it time to renew? If you are 

uncertain when your sub- 

scription expires, look for the 

expiration date in the location 

circled on the sample above. 


Congratulations to Hunter Raso (9) 
and Hannah Raso (6) for their great 
skills in landing a bluegill during a 
fishing trip to a friend's pond last fall. 
As you can see, they are pretty 
miserable about the entire adventure. 
Just kidding— and thanks for sharing. 

We are pleased to share here the 

winning essay in the VOWA 

2009 Youth Writing Competition, 

Collegiate Undergraduate Division. 

Fairy Dust 

by John P. Haworth 

I recall the salt on my skin, deposit- 
ed by the humid air. It was that time 
of year when the clouds would form 
astronomical kingdoms in the sky as 
they mixed with the blood of the 
dying sun. We were headed for the 
USS Tiger. A simple wreck if you 
knew your way around a junkyard. 
Getting to the Tiger wasn't a long 
voyage — especially on such a sub- 
lime summer evening coupled with 
the speed of the Miss Laure)i. 

I envy myself as I recall this 
night. I long for a deep breath of an 
ocean breeze while in these moun- 



Night dives were always a thrill, 
especially with lobster on the menu. 
My brother, who was a former cap- 
tain aboard the Lauren, decided to 
join me. As soon as we were able to 
enter the water, we began our 
descent into the abyss. My pupils 
dilated and absorbed as much light 
as they could, which was only what 
my battery-powered light provided 
me. To my left, my rear, and my right 
there was only blackness. 

As we descended upon the USS 
Tiger, our lights reflected the red rust 
and army green of the Atlantic ship- 
wreck. Lobster antennas towered out 
of cracks in the iron. Within minutes 
we each possessed a lobster in our 
catch bag. Moving to the edge of the 
wreckage, while peering across the 
sea floor, my lantern caught an eerie 
sight. Like a caravan of ghosts, a 
school of flounder shook themselves 
out of their graves and began a quiet 
wander toward the Tiger. They were 
on the move, on the hunt. My fists 
began to clench around my pole 
spear with great angst. I gave a small 
flutter and began my stalk. Their col- 
ors began to camouflage into an 
auburn brown as they hovered onto 
the wreck. In the corner of my eye, 
an enormous flounder appeared and 
I began to shadow his movements. 
His eyes darted in confusion as my 
light approached. 

My imagination stirred and I 
began to hear the faint sizzling of oil 
in a pan. In my mind I anxiously 
grabbed thick cuts of fish, sprinkled 
them with batter and of course Old 
Bay, and dipped them into the hot 
oil. I began to drool onto my moth- 
er's tile floor and then I realized the 
drool was currently filling my regu- 
lator. I could taste his ability to cure 
my hunger along with a basket of 
fries. The time was now and I began 
to push back my spear until I noticed 
something was terribly wrong. 

With a small laugh I realized the 
spear was still resting in my garage 
at home. In my excitement and blood 
thirst, I had forgotten my earlier 
decision to leave it behind and mere- 
ly dreamed it present in hopes of 

catching dinner. Predator and preda- 
tor exchanged eyes one last time as I 
passed the colossal escapee. I imag- 
ined him laughing at me, with a deep 
baritone voice echoing from the deep 
chambers of his old, yet wild, heart. 

After checking our air, my broth- 
er and I decided to begin our ascent. 
As we inched our way to the surface, 
we extinguished our lights in hopes 
of glimpsing a familiar sight: tiny 
creatures that flicker a pulse of phos- 
phorous light at the slightest touch. I 
shook the anchor line, causing all the 
creatures resting on it to emit a flur- 
ry of green light — providing me with 
a glowing trail that led all the way to 
the surface. I noticed there was a con- 
siderable amount this evening, more 
than I had ever seen. I gazed around 
and my heart seized with everything 
around me as I witnessed an electri- 
fying spectacle. As if I were a giant 
in a galaxy of stars, these little crea- 
tures, so critical to the sea, surround- 
ed me in astonishing numbers. The 
darkness was fading as a blanket of 
fairy dust draped over me. I gazed 
down at my hand. I curled my fin- 
gers back and forth toward my palm, 
gazing in awe. It appeared as if I had 
just been given supernatural powers. 
I could only see what appeared to be 
a human hand surging with green 
light. My eyes moved from my wrist 
to my elbow, then shoulder, then 
chest, and then to my whole body. I 
could not make out the human 
stitching or worldly logos of my 
gear; nothing. Only a vibrant display 
of electric greens, a collection of fairy 
dust in the exact shape of my body. 
And in this world where gravity 
counted for less, I was floating. As if 
I belonged on a torn-out page of 
Peter Pan, the fairy dust began to give 
me flight. I was a terrestrial being, 
endowed with a supernatural ability 
to fly in the at]uatic atmosphere. 

Slowly I began to hear drums 
coming from somewhere in the dark. 
I looked up and a lightning bolt's 
flash dispersed through the ripples 
of the surface. I began to notice the 
current had shifted: a sure sign it was 
time to go, along with the lightning 

bolt. In admiration, yet sorrow, I 
watched the impenetrable green 
blanket unfold from around my 
body, shifting back into the form of a 
galaxy, which then spread back into 
the infinite universe of the deep. My 
time in euphoria was over. With a 
deep breath of dry air from my artifi- 
cial gills, I looked back toward the 
surface and began my return to 

Whether it be as a biologist or a 
simple fisherman, my sails will 
always be set toward the horizon of 
the sea. Though but one among 
many interactions with the ocean, 
my experience on the night dive of 
the USS Tiger was by far the most 
mesmerizing. I intruded into a world 
which was not my own, where I was 
at the complete mercy of the sea. Yet 
in my intrusion, under the comfcirt of 
a glowing blanket, I felt at home and 
welcomed. I know this experience 
only happens to so many people and 
but so often, and for this I shall 
remain in the sea's debt forever. lI 

Cougratiilntioiii to Jolvi Haworth, a fisJieries 
science major at Virginia Tech. The annual 
Youth Writing Competition is sponsored by 
the Virginia Outdoor Writers Association, 


"Sorry to call you back from 
your vacation on such short 
notice, Smith." 

JULY 2010 

by Lynda Richardson 

DepthofField Preview Button 

Most of the time I totally forget 
about the depth-of-field pre- 
view feature on my camera. It is a 
button normally found on the front 
of the camera, and when pressed 
shows you what's in focus. It does 
this by "stopping down" the lens to 
the aperture you have selected. Not 
every camera has this feature, so be 
sure to check your camera manual to 
see if yours does. 

A lot of times this function does 
not seem to do any good at all. If 
using a small aperture setting like 
f22.0, which gives a maximum 
depth-of-field, initially all you will 
see is a dark scene — making it diffi- 
cult to see much of anything. On the 
other hand, if you use a large aper- 
ture opening like f2.8, a minimum 
depth-of-field, then it is bright 
enough to see plenty but doesn't ap- 
pear to show you much. How can 
you make this feature work for you? 

As you may recall in the May 
Photo Tips column, the aperture of 
your lens controls how much is in 
focus in front of and behind your 
subject by a 1/3 to 2/3 ratio. When 
trying to decide on how much you 
want in focus, sometimes you can 
preview an aperture by selecting it 
and then pushing in and holding the 
depth-of-field preview button. If it 
appears too dark, just wait a little 
while until your eye gets adjusted. 
Then, look around the frame to see 
how much is in focus. 

Another thing to do is simply 
change the aperture and compare 
again how everything looks with the 
button pushed in. If I first tried f22.0, 
then I might try fS.O and then even 
f2.8. You will see a difference when 
comparing in this way, despite the 
brightness or darkness of the scene. 
Differences are particularly obvious 
when you have a distant background 
behind the subject. And, if all else 

fails, just take pictures of the different 
aperture settings and see what you 
like on the LCD or the computer 
screen later. 

The depth-of-field button is par- 
ticularly helpful when looking for 
distracting elements at maximum 
depth-of-field settings. The preview 

The depth-of-field preview button might be 
hiding somewhere on your camera! Here, 
it's the small black button near the lens and 
the bottom of the camera. Be sure to check 
your manual to see if you have this feature. 

can expose an errant stick or blade of 
grass diat you can correct before tak- 
ing the shot. It will also reveal other 
distractions, such as spots of light be- 
hind foliage, or a subject's head, or 
even a dark shape you hadn't noticed 

The next time you experiment 
with depth-of-field don't be afraid to 
try out the depth-of-field preview 
button. I'm going to remember to use 
it more myself! D 

You are invited to submit one to five of your 
best photographs to "Image of the Month," 
Virginia Wildlife Magazine, RO. Box III 04, 
40 10 West Broad Street, Richmond, VA 
23230-1 104. Send original slides, super high- 
quality prints, or high-res jpeg, tiff, or raw files 
on a disk and include a self-addressed, 
stamped envelope or other shipping method 
for return. Also, please include any pertinent 
information regarding how and where you 
captured the image and what camera and set- 
tings you used, along with your phone num- 
ber. We look forward to seeing and sharing 
your work with our readers. 


Congratulations go to Nancy Newman of Charlottesville for her fun image of a tiger swal- 
lowtail caterpillar as seen under a magnifying glass. Nancy reports that she goes "caterpil- 
laring" with friends and this was one of their many finds. Nikon Coolpix LI digital camera, 
ISO 50, l/80th,f2.9. Very cool! 



by Tom Guess 

This is the Sailing Vessel FOR SAIL! 

/was fairly new to the Coast 
Guard and happened to be on 
radio watch. Radio watch is very 
similar to standing duty as a dis- 
patcher, because you are certified 
through a qualification 
process to monitor the radios 
and phones found in a Coast 
Guard communications cen- 
ter and respond to MAYDAY 
calls or calls for assistance. 

This particular summer 
morning was one when you 
just knew it was going to be a 
hot and stagnant day with no 
breeze in the air. I remember 
my supervisor saying, "Sure is 
a quiet day today!" to which 1 
replied, "So far, but it's been a 
while since we've had any- 
thing bad happen!" 

Shortly after that I remember the 
microphone keying up on VHF-FM 
channel 16, followed by what sound- 
ed like wind blowing and someone 
panting or breathing heavily, "MAY- 
DAY - MAYDAY - MAYDAY - this is 
the 37-foot white and blue sailing 
vessel FOR SAIL... FOR SAIL. We 
have two persons on board and our 
boat is engulfed in flames! We need 
help fast! Our position is. . ." and then 
I heard what you always fear on the 
other end — silence. 

I called out via channel 16, "Sail- 
ing vessel FOR SAIL, this is the U.S. 
Coast Guard. Over." I repeated this 
several times, with no reply. I started 
an "urgent marine broadcast" while 
our boat was en route to the position, 
(pronounced pahn). Hello all sta- 
tions. Anyone hearing a distress call 
on VHF-FM channel 16 for the sailing 
vessel FOR SAIL on fire in the vicini- 

ty of . . . please keep a sharp eye out 
and report any sightings to the near- 
est Coast Guard unit." 

Soon I received another trans- 
mission, "Coast Guard, this is the 

FOR SAIL. My dad and I are in our 
dinghy and have paddled away from 
our sailing vessel and have anchored 
near the marsh. Our vessel is a total 
loss and fully engulfed." 

As it turns out, these two men 
were fueling a gas camp stove on the 
back deck of their boat. When they re- 
turned the stove to the galley /salon 
area to cook breakfast, some spilled 
fuel ignited. This in turn ignited the 
curtains over the port light window, 
which caused the fire to spread rap- 
idly throughout the galley and lower 
cabin. The operator told us that he 
used three hand-held fire extinguish- 
ers that were on board with no suc- 
cess and that they didn't seem to 
work very well because they didn't 
last long. 

Vessels with enclosed fuel tanks, 
inboard motors, and decks that can 
trap fuel vapors (including jonboats 
with installed wooden decks and gas 

motors), or vessels with a galley 
and / or berthing area (sleeping quar- 
ters or cabin) must carry approved 
fire extinguisher(s). Your fire extin- 
guisher must be a U.S. Coast Guard- 
approved B- or B/C-type ex- 
tinguisher, and the proper size 
and number for your boat. 
Boats less than 26 feet in 
length with enclosed fuel, en- 
gine compartment, or other 
construction that could trap 
fuel vapors would be required 
to carry one B-1, USCG-ap- 
proved, marine grade fire ex- 
c tinguisher on board. The ex- 
I tinguisher should be good 
i and serviceable, charged, and 
U stowed in a readily accessible 
% location. For more informa- 


"^ tion on fire extinguishers, visit 
the Watercrcift Owner's Guide section 
of our website at: www.dgif .Virginia, 
gov / boating / wog / equipment- 

Remember that the operator of 
the FOR SAIL stated that his extin- 
guishers didn't work for long. As a 
rule, the charge in a hand-held 
portable fire extinguisher will only 
last in seconds equal to its weight. 
For example, a 2- to 3-pound portable 
extinguisher will provide you with a 
mere 2 or 3 seconds of firefighting ca- 
pability. Typical B-1, USCG-ap- 
proved fire extinguishers are widely 
available at local retailers for around 
$25 or less. 

Remember, when you're on the 
water: Be Responsible, Be Safe, and 
Have Fun! D 

Tom Guess, U. S. Coast Guard (Ret.), serves as 
a statewide coordinator for the Boating Safety 
Education Program at the DGIF. 

JULY 2010 



by Ken and Maria Perrotte 

King George's Venison Chili 

I J /e've been to a number of chili cook-off s in our 
WW day, even entering a few and enjoying some 
modest success. From all-meat cliili to chili with beans 
to chicken chili to the most disappointing chili we tried 
to make using the pungent meat from a rutting caribou 
stag, we've prepared, enjoyed, and endured the best to 
the worst. 

Certainly, one of the finest chili dishes we ever had 
was prepared by California-based wild game chef 
Scott Leysath, who took a couple of moose roasts Ken 
brought to an outdoor writers conference and pro- 
ceeded to turn them into something savored by the 
masses sampling the treats around the buffet table. 

It's always interesting how some folks equate 
good chili to the level of heat generated by whatever 
peppers or spices are in the mix. There's spicy, there's 
hot, and there's ridiculous. 

About the only chili concoctions we don't care for 
are those efforts designed by seemingly sadistic cooks. 
Perhaps you've tried them — the ones that seek to sear 
all taste buds with overdoses of hot peppers and other 
ingredients. They peg out at the top of the culinary 
misery index. Victims with terrified eyes, tingling hair, 
and sweating brows gasp for cold liquids or anything 
that will quell the inferno. 

Like many of our dishes, we adopt a technique 
here, an ingredient there, and keep sampling until it 
suits our tastebuds. This chili recipe is such an amalga- 
mation. It adapts a cooking technique we saw on a 
cookirig show that involves simmering the meat in the 
liquid versus first browning in a pan with seasonings 
that offer just the right amount of tanginess and flavor. 

This is what most would consider a mild chili. The 
combination of cinnamon and brown sugar gives it a 
sweet, somewhat exotic flavor, while vinegar provides 
a bit of tang. It's easy to add more traditional chili zip 
in the way of cumin or more chili powder, or fresh 
chopped hot peppers to get it to a point, if desired. This 
cooking technique, though, niakes it easy to fool your- 
self into thinking the chili is too mild when it first starts 

cooking. Let it cook down and reduce in terms of liquid 
before adding additional hot peppers, cumin, or other 
fiery ingredients. 


2 Vi tablespoons olive oil 

1 onion, chopped 

2 scallions, chopped 

V4 green pepper, chopped 

1 clove garlic, minced 

1 tomato (fresh or canned, chopped) 

3 tablespoons chili powder 

2 teaspoons oregano 

2 teaspoons cinnamon 

Vi teaspoon allspice 

V2 teaspoon each, salt and pepper, or to taste 

28 ounce can diced tomatoes 

1 cup chicken broth 

1 Vi tablespoons brown sugar 

1 tablespoon vinegar 

2 pounds ground venison 


Saute vegetables in oil over medium /low heat until 
soft. Add seasonings and cook another minute. Add 
diced tomatoes, broth, sugar and vinegar, and bring to a 
simmer. Add meat, breaking it apart as it comes to a 
simmer. Cook uncovered for about 15 minutes. Season 
to taste with salt and pepper. Add more peppers or 
cumin or chili powder to increase the heat to your de- 
sired level. 


While you can just eat it out of a bowl with crackers or a 
nice honeyed cornbread, this chili does very well served 
"Cincinnati style" over spaghetti. You can add chopped 
onions, grated or shredded cheese, and pinto, kidney, or 
black beans over the top as your style and taste suits. 
This chili can be satisfying year-round. It matches well 
with most medium-bodied lager beers or a light ale. D 





The Virginia 
Birding and Wildlife 
Trail Guide 

Provides information on the 
nation's first statewide 
wildlife viewing trail all in 
one convenient book. This 
400-pg. color publication 
provides information on 
over 670 sites with updat- 
ed maps, detailed driving 
directions, and contact in- 
formation for each site. 



Canvas Tote Bag 

This attractive bag 
makes a great tote for 
groceries, picnic 
items, or camera and 
field guides. Show 
your support for the 
Virginia Birding and 
Wildlife Trail with this 
reinforced cotton can- 
vas blue and tan bag. 
Measures 14x5x13" 
and includes FREE SHIPPING 
to thank you for your support. 


Price $12.95 

*NEW* Birder's Journal 

Become a budding naturalist by recording your bird sightings 
and outdoor observations in this handsome leather-lDound 
journal. Includes a complete list of Virginia birds at the front; 
measures lO'A x 7". FREE SHIPPING to thank you for sup- 
porting wildlife conservation and the Virginia Birding and 
Wildlife Trail. 


Price $22.95 

To Order visit the Department's website at: or call (804) 367-2569. 
Please allow 3 to 4 weeks for delivery. 

Aaron Smith from Shenandoah Valley is checking his target at 
the Hunter Education Challenge held recently at Holiday Lake 
4-H Center. Hunter Education Instructor Shay Bolen is scoring. 
The challenge draws 100+ participants from across Virginia each 
year to compete in events "aimed" at encouraging graduates of 
the hunter education course to develop their skills. This year's 
senior division team winner, Powhatan County, will now com- 
pete in the national event. 



gn^ yt 





The Old Dominion Smallmouth Club has completed a project to 
fund and build 15 fishing line recycling bins. These bins are bein^ 
installed at boat ramps on the James River above Richmond. 
The Old Dominion Smallmouth Club will empty the bins periodi- 
cally and forward discarded line to Berkley for recycling. 

Discarded monofilament line is one of the most dangerous 
trash items encountered by wildlife. Birds collect it for nesting 
material, creating hazards— including entanglement— to them- 
selves and their offspring. Many nests contain monofilament 
and/or plastic that has been scavenged. 

Club members encourage you to collect any line that you 
find in the course of your river trip and recycle it in these bins. 

We wish to thank the Old Dominion Smallmouth Club (ODSC) for 
spearheading this important project that protects wildlife. 
Report and photograph, courtesy of ODSC. 

Magazine subscription-related calls only I -800-7 10-9369 

T\velve issues for just $ 1 2.95! 

All other calls to (804) 367- 1 000; (804) 367- 1278 TTY 

Visit our website at www.HuntFish 

Poatlwg Safety Courses Are Required 

Personal Watercraf t (PWC) "Jet Ski' 

Age 35 or younger, July 1, 2010 
Age 50 or younger, July 1, 2011 
All ages by July 1,2012